CANCER

The search for cancer cell vulnerabilities

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Science  03 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6328, pp. 921-922
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6328.921-b

Efficient screening of gene essentiality in mammalian cells, enabled by CRISPR-mediated gene editing, offers the opportunity to search for genes that are particularly required for proliferation and survival of tumor cells. Wang et al. used such screens to search for genes that are essential for growth in cancer cells driven by RAS mutations commonly found in human cancers. Such screens can help reveal functionally important interactions. The authors identified PREX1 as a key activator of MAP kinase signaling in the studied cancer cells. PREX is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the small guanosine triphosphatase Rac1, best known for its roles in controlling cell motility. The strategy holds promise for the development of cancer therapies directed at specific vulnerabilities of cancer cells.

Cell 10.1016/j.cell.2017.01.013 (2017).

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